LEGEND has it that should nuclear war break out one of the items on a Trident submarine commander's check list is the Today programme. If the BBC Radio Four show is off the air three days in a row, the UK is deemed a goner.

One would like to think that as a wee thank you for all Scots have done nuclear-wise, that the listening choice would be Good Morning Scotland rather than John Humphrys (“Nuclear war? How much is that going to cost the taxpayer?”), but there we are.

We all have our little markers by which to measure whether things are going well or not. A sure sign of tumult on Planet Alison is the number of late nights. This week, due to bally Brexit and other factors, I have been working late every single night. By late I mean being up past my 10pm bedtime.

Those who react to this news with a Munchian scream are, like me, early morning loving, late night loathing larks. The scoffers are dirty stop out night owls. Among the many negative effects of Brexit, besides bringing normal political business to a standstill, is that larks are being forced to act like owls.

Jeremy Corbyn is clearly a lark. On Wednesday, when Theresa May reacted to winning the no confidence vote by offering meetings with opposition politicians “starting tonight”, I knew he would not go. Some might think that as a dyed-in-the-wool socialist he would rather cartwheel naked round the London Stock Exchange than have a cuppa with a Tory, but I reckon he looked at his watch, saw Sheridan Smith’s Cleaning Up was on at 9, and thought, “Beggar this for a game of soldiers.” I know I did.

It goes against the natural order of things for larks to behave like owls and vice versa, but sometimes we have no choice. For years I worked backshifts, first in television, then in newspapers. The worst gig was the splash subbing shift from 6.30pm till 2.30am.

The splash sub was responsible for the front page, and for making any late night changes to the paper once everyone else had gone. It mostly involved watching out for famous folk going off to meet their maker, and keeping an eye on ships in trouble at sea. Given the position involved a great degree of trust and a safe pair of hands, I have no idea why they let me do it. Many was the night I was close to changing the splash headline to: ALIENS LAND IN EDINBURGH, with the sub-head “Row breaks out over whether ET has in fact had tea”.

After decades of late nights I craved a more suitable routine. Doing an early morning e-bulletin involved a 4.30am start, worse than breakfast telly. Would be hellish to many, but I loved it, the working day done and dusted by early afternoon. Of course it involved going to bed at toddler time, which was no good for the social life, but it was a great excuse to get out of things.

But The Midge ended and I went on to normal hours. Except nothing is normal in these Brexit times. One business leader told Channel 4 News this week that as far as politicians are concerned, “the new normal is shambles”. The rest of us are left to keep up, which means tacking late nights on to early starts. We are all half owls, half larks now.

Let us not kid ourselves: there are consequences to this overturning of the natural order. I was so discombobulated this week I turned up to an event a day early. And wearing a jumper inside out. My hair has not been brushed for so long I’m starting to look like a Ken Dodd impersonator.

A quick look at the TV news shows I am not the only one coming apart at the seams. I may have imagined this in my fevered, sleep-deprived state, but I swear Huw Edwards was wearing a navy shirt with a white collar the other night. Get a grip, man, there’s a war on, a war against early nights. Anyone would think it was a cunning EU plan to bring Blighty to its knees and force Brexit to be cancelled.

Just checked the diary and there is no sleep again till Brooklyn, or the Plan B vote on January 29, whatever comes first. Oh for a nice cosy berth on a submarine. The non-nuclear kind, of course.


NICE to see the Duchess of Sussex looking blooming lovely on her visit to the Mayhew animal home in London, and to learn she has adopted it as one of her charities.
In her previous life, the then Meghan Markle had two rescue dogs and for a while last Wednesday she looked like leaving the shelter with another, a very cute Jack Russell named Minnie. Courtesy of the photo of Meghan and Minnie going global, the one-year-old had a new, non-royal, forever home by the day’s end.
The usually couture clad Duchess had dressed sensibly for the visit. Well, almost. Her maternity dress was a £25 number from H&M, but the pastel pink overcoat, not very muddy paw friendly, was £1699 from Armani.
Not to be outdone in the dog-related fashion stakes, David Beckham was pictured having an afternoon nap with spaniel Olive. Draped over the snoozing pair was a Louis Vuitton blanket, estimated cost £5k. Cue justified outrage on social media. A dog blanket that costs the same as a decent car; now that is barking mad.


IT did not take long for relief that no-one was seriously injured, or worse, in the crash involving the Duke of Edinburgh to turn into a debate about whether he should be driving or not at the age of 97.
The pictures from the A149 near the Sandringham estate were shocking, and the fact that the other car was carrying a baby and two women was the stuff of nightmares. 
As society ages there are set to be even more older motorists on the road. Currently, the number over 70 is five million plus. That is a whole Scotland’s worth of people who, at the moment, have to fill in a self-assessment form every three years to keep their licences. 
The DVLA can order people to have a test or medical examination, and is increasingly likely to do so, but the number of referrals is still only 5500.
Those against an automatic formal test every year after a certain age argue that it is young drivers, not older, experienced ones, who pose the greatest danger to themselves and others. 
Fair enough, the stats agree, but there must be another look at that three-year period. A lot can happen in that time.


YOU know the scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark where Indiana Jones is fleeing from a giant boulder? 
If the film was remade today the rock would be Peppa Pig. Just as there is no cheating death and taxes, so there is no getting away from the omnipresent porker.
The little pink ‘un turned up in a story this week involving a four-year-old named Autumn, her mother, and a Peppa scooter. As reported in the Mail, Autumn and her posse got on the bus back from grandma’s. The driver was not happy. “We've got a problem,” he said. Apparently, the scooter was deemed a weapon and as such he could not let them on.
Autumn’s mum argued her case, to much sighing from passengers, and the driver gave in.
Turns out it had been a case of malapropism all along, and the driver had meant to say the scooter was a “hazard” which, if he had to slam the breaks on, could have flown through the air and hurt someone. 
The pig wins again. Latest score: Peppa 346, World 0. Her fight for world domination continues.